Mind-conquest by the Four Traditional Methods
A digest of Sivananda's description of the four traditional methods of annihilating the mind, runs thus. A Vedantin destroys the mind through Self-expansion; he practises self-denial, identifies himself with the Supreme Brahman, and thus brings about the annihilation of the mind. A Raja Yogi achieves the same goal, by stilling the mind, eradicating the Vrittis. A Bhakti Yogi obtains the death of the mind by contracting and reducing it to zero; he practises self-surrender, places his mind at the feet of the Lord. A Karma Yogi slays the mind by removing selfishness and by selfless service; he practises self-sacrifice identifies himself with the Cosmic Being, and expands his heart by total elimination of all selfish desires.
Mind-conquest by Meditation on 'Om'
A hundred methods there are for mind-conquest. Equally as many are the types and tastes of mind. To suit the different types of mind, Sivananda prescribes different methods of conquest. To approach the Infinite and transcend the mind, one of the important methods of Sivananda is the Meditation on Om with Tadrupas-Tadartha-Bhavanam. Om is the symbol of the Immortal, all-pervading Self; it is the perfect sound-representation of the timeless, soundless, infinite Reality. Sivananda says: Think of Om to the exclusion of everything else. Shut out all mundane thoughts. They may, of course, recur again and again; but you will have to generate the thoughts of the pure Self repeatedly. Associate the ideas of purity, perfection, freedom, knowledge, immortality, eternity, infinity etc. with Om. Association with Om is to become one with the thing signified. 'Tadjapas-tadartha-bhavanam.' Try to identify yourself with the all-blissful Self when you think or meditate or chant Om and negate the five Koshas as illusory adjuncts created by Maya. You have to take the symbol Om as Satchidananda Brahman. This is the meaning. During meditation you should feel that you are all-purity, all-light, all-pervading existence, etc, Meditate on the Self daily. Think that you are entirely different from the mind. Constantly meditate upon the following thoughts and mentally repeat: All-pervading Ocean of Light I am, Om Om Om; Omnipotent, Omniscient I am, Om Om Om; All-bliss, all-purity, all-glory, all-joy, all-health, all-Peace I am, Om Om Om.
the Method of the Vedantic Kumbhaka
Regarding his method of the Vedantic Kumbhaka for mind-conquest, Sivananda has this to say, in his work, Science of Pranayama - Being without any distraction and with a calm mind, one should practise Pranayama. Both expiration and inspiration should be stopped. The practitioner should depend solely on Brahman; this is the highest aim of life. The giving out of all external objects is said to be Rechaka. The taking in of the spiritual knowledge of Sastras is said to be Puraka and the keeping to oneself of such knowledge is said to be Kumbhaka. He is an emancipated person who practises his Chitta thus. There is no doubt about it. Through Kumbhaka, the mind should always be taken up and through Kumbhaka alone it should be filled up within. It is only through Kumbhaka that Kumbhaka should be firmly mastered. Within it, is 'Parama-Siva.' At first in this Brahmagranthi there is produced soon a hole or passage. Then having pierced Brahmagranthi, he pierces Vishnugranthi, then he pierces Rudragranthi, then the Yogi attains his liberation through the religious ceremonies, performed in various births, through the grace of Gurus and Devatas and through the practice of Yoga.
Mind-conquest by the Method
of the Gayatri Sadhana
A total illumination of the inner being, and the ascension of it into the infinitude of the self-luminous Consciousness and illimitable Powers of Being, is brought about by the continuous repetition with feeling, faith and concentrated force, and the consequent unfolding of the limitless Sakti inherent in the Gayatri Mantra. This Vedic Mantra of the ancient Sages of India is bequeathed to every man as his most invaluable spiritual heritage for mind-conquest, self-conquest and realisation of the endless and eternal Light of the Brahman within and without. At length Sivananda has described this method in his special pamphlet on Gayatri Mantra and also in his magnum opus on Spiritual practices, 'Sadhana'.
Mind-conquest by the Method of Sakti Yoga
Freedom from the thraldom of mind, matter and Maya, maintains the Sakta-guru, is impossible of achievement except through the Grace of the Endless Sakti or Power that the Divine Mother is. If the Mind is to be conquered, the Maya is to be transcended, the Matter is to be transfused into absolute Consciousness, one has to awaken the Supreme Power latent in oneself, as the Kundalini Sakti, as the Divine Mother, by Dhyana, by Bhavana, by Japa, by the force and potencies released from Mantra Sakti. One attains Siddhi or Perfection when the latent infinite Power is awakened, and the entire process and the subtleties of the discipline have to be conducted and obtained from the Guru.
Observe in these passages of Sivananda, how the mind which is nothing but a configuration of Vasanas, Samskaras, thoughts, is quite sublated into the integral experience of the infinite Whole, the infinite Light, Power and Delight: - The person who follows this Sakta method enjoys Bhukti (the pleasures in the world) and Mukti (liberation from all worlds). Siva is an embodiment of Bliss and Knowledge. He himself appears in the form of man with this life that is a mixture of pleasure and pain. If you remember this point always, all dualism, all hatred, all jealousy, all pride will vanish, and with them the mind too vanishes. You must consider every human function as worship or a religious act. Answering calls of nature, micturation, talking, eating, walking, seeing, hearing become worship of the Lord, if you develop the right attitude. It is Siva, who works in and through man. Where then is egoism, or individuality, or the mind? All human actions are divine actions. One universal life throbs in the hearts of all, hears in the ears of all. What a magnificent experience it is, if one can feel this by crushing this little, 'I' which is another name for mind! The old Samskaras, the old Vasanas, the old habits of thinking, stand in the way of your realising this Experience-Whole. When the Kundalini Sakti sleeps, man is awake to the world, the mind begins to work, and he has objective consciousness. When Kundalini Sakti awakes, man sleeps, loses all consciousness of the world and body and becomes one with the Divine, attains the Knowledge of the Imperishable Absolute.
Mind-conquest by the Method of Will-culture
From pages? of this book let us compile here those relevant passages of Sivananda that present to us his method of will-culture for mind-control. Mind-control is extremely difficult.
But, it has to be done. Therefore Sivananda says on page?, - You will have to struggle hard for a long time with patience and perseverance. Nothing is impossible for a Sadhaka who has an iron will and a strong determination.
When a doubt arises, - whether or not I succeed in controlling the mind, it must be dispelled, Sivananda says, by direct suggestions and affirmation such as: - It is true: I will succeed. There is no doubt of this. - In my dictionary, in my vocabulary, there are no such words as 'can't', 'impossible', 'difficult', etc. Everything is possible under the sun. - Nothing is difficult when you strongly make up your mind. Strong determination and firm resolution will bring sanguine success in every affair or undertaking, and particularly so in the conquest of mind.
Do a thing which the mind does not want to do. Do not do a thing which the mind wants to do. This is one way of developing the will and controlling the mind.
Whatever object the mind likes much, must be given up. Whatever object the mind dwells upon constantly, thinks about very often, must be abandoned. If you like brinjals or apples much, give them up first. You will gain a great deal of peace, will-power and control of mind.
When the mind is longing for a particular food or drink, when the thing is right in front of you, when you are just putting out your hand to grasp it, do not touch it. Stop and say, 'I am not a slave of any particular food or drink or any object. I can leave it any moment. My will is powerful now'.
When the mind is enraged and about to smite the enemy, check yourself and say, 'I am no victim of anger and hatred'. Thus the mind is controlled by the development of an invincible will.
Mind-conquest by Higher Philosophical Thinking
The true philosopher's mind is like a shining crystal. It is able to grasp at once the nature of the Reality. The moment such a person sits for meditation, his mind will fly into the depths of being. He will not experience any tossing of mind or any disturbing factor, for his mind has been already purified by the fire of philosophical thinking. This higher philosophical thinking Sivananda recommends to those that are intellectually gifted, for mind-control.
Mind-conquest by Diverting One's Attention
There is another method of Sivananda, for mind-conquest which he recommends to those that constantly complain of the temptation and desires that they encounter in such large numbers. When you are presented with an object of temptation, when a desire arises, do not think about it, divert your attention, let it sink back. Do not spin your imagination. It is imagination that strengthens the Vritti. Do not identify yourself with the desire, and if the worse comes to the worst, if the desire is strong, be stubborn, do not submit to it, divert your attention. Try always to nip the desire in the bud. When a desire comes in the form of a ripple, try to liquidate it then and there itself. But if due to lack of your vigilance it takes the form of an impulse, see that it is not fulfilled. Do not make Chestha outwardly. If a desire comes, - I should go and gossip, say, - No. I will not allow the body to move. If the body does not move, the mind cannot fulfil its desire, and ultimately the reverse process will happen, and the desire will sink back into the mind, and there will be control of mind, and calmness.
Mind-conquest by Japa Yoga Sadhana
On Japa as one of the most powerful methods of mind-control, we have this inspiring guidance of a many-sided nature, from Sivananda: - Japa of any Mantra destroys the impurities of the mind, makes the mind turn inwards, induces Vairagya, helps concentration and eventually leads to control of mind and the attainment of God-consciousness. In this Kali Yuga, the easiest way for controlling the mind and attaining Moksha is Kirtan or singing the Name of the Lord.
Elsewhere Sivananda speaks of the advantage of Dhyana or meditation on the Form of the Lord, side by side with the repetition of the Name or the Mantra of that Lord. - Side by side with Japa, think of the Lord as present before you and picture His entrancing and beautiful form. This adds tremendously to the efficacy and power of your practice. The mind is fully engrossed in the form of the Lord by this practice and there is no chance for the mind to get hold of the objects of senses which are like straw or chaff before the bliss of the presence of God.
Mind-conquest by the Method of Prayer
Not demanding any feats of high intelligence nor gifts of eloquence, for its effective exercise, except a little devotion, a spirit of reverence, a little faith, a little earnestness, prayer brings a hundred rewards, exerts a tremendous influence on the whole of the nature of man, and brings the mind into purity and tranquillity. Sivananda finds prayer one of the best methods of conquering the mind. His only condition for real praying is that prayers should be raised in sincerity, must proceed from the heart, must be for divine light, purity and spiritual guidance, and not for selfish ends or petty gifts and worldly prizes and goods.
Prayer, Sivananda says, is a mighty spiritual force. It elevates the mind, destroys its impurities, keeps it in tune with the Divine Being. Sincere devotees realise the importance, the power, the value and the splendour of prayer. A Yogi can actually visualise, through his inner eye, the dynamic and beneficial effects produced on the mind by prayer. Get up in the early morning and repeat some prayers. Pray in any manner you like. Become as simple as a child; open freely the chambers of your heart. You will get everything. Namadev prayed and Vittal came out of the image to eat his food; Ekanath prayed and Lord Hari showed His form with four hands; Damaji prayed and Lord Krishna played the part of a menial in paying his dues to Badshah. Draupadi prayed fervently, Lord Krishna ran from Dwarka to relieve her distress; Gajendra prayed ardently, Lord Hari appeared with a disc to protect him. It was Prahlada that rendered cool the boiling oil when it was poured over his head; it was the power of prayer of Mira that converted the bed of nails into a bed of roses, cobra into a flower-garland. In temptations, in despondency, in trials, in every mood and condition of mind, prayer affords the best relief, and if tried gives itself as the easiest means of transforming the entire inner nature and establishing a perfect mastery over the mind.
Mind-conquest by the Method of Sankirtan Yoga
Of particular interest to the modern temper is the case Sivananda makes out in a chapter on Sankirtan Yoga, in his Sivananda Yoga Samhita for Sankirtan as the easiest and the cheapest method of mind-control and God-realisation. - Sankirtan Yoga is the easiest, surest, quickest, safest, cheapest and best way for conquering the mind and attaining God-realisation in this Kali Yuga. There is infinite Sakti in the Lord's Names. It will remove all impurities from your mind. Vedantins say that there are three kinds of obstacles to Self-realisation - Mala, Vikshepa and Avarana. To remove them they prescribe Nishkama Karma, Upasana and Vedantic Nididhyasana. This Sankirtan alone can achieve all these together. Sankirtan removes the impurities of the mind (Mala); it steadies the mind and checks its tendency to vacillate (Vikshepa); and ultimately it tears the veil of ignorance (Avarana), too, and brings the Sadhaka face to face with God.
When the Divine Names are chanted and sung, a significant change takes place in the entire organism of the person chanting and singing. There is a twofold effect produced by the utterance of the Divine Name. The Mantra-sakti or the power generated by the juxtaposition of the letters of the Mantra and by the utterance of the same sets the whole nervous system of the person in vibration, a vibration which brings about rhythm, harmony and equilibrium in it. When the system is in such a harmonised state, the breath, too, flows rhythmically and the mind rests in a state of tranquillity. It is in this peaceful state of the mind that the divine consciousness is reflected and the supernal joy of the Eternal is experienced. Secondly the idea of the Divine being generated in the mind at the time of the repetition of the Name gives a direct fillip to the mind in its attempt to unite itself with the Divine Being.
The nervous system is in a state of perfect harmony when the vibration produced by the chanting of the divine Name pervades it with a force of integration. The Divine Name is not merely a sound; it is a force which can overcome all the distractive forces in the human system and render it pure and make it fit for the experience of Sattva, the highly transparent medium through which the Immortal Being is reflected.
What a mighty power is latent in the Divine Name! Only those who are endowed with devotion know it. The scientists now declare that sound-vibrations have such a tremendous force that they can direct this power to silk fabrics and cleanse them of all dirt more thoroughly than a washerman can. But they have yet to realise that vibrations produced by the singing of the Name of God will cleanse their very hearts, will purify their very souls, will remove all the invisible dross accumulated in their minds since many births.
Mind-conquest of Raga-dvesha and
Raga-dvesha is the current of attraction and repulsion, likes and unlikes, lover and hatred, constitutes the real mind, the whole of the wheel of Samsara, the cycle of individual's births and deaths, the real chain of Karma. Through Raga you may be attracted to anything, a man or a woman, cat or a dog, a stick or a clothing, a house or a town, a view or a religion, and commit virtuous or vicious actions, entertain fears of losing the object of your liking, become a victim of anger when something stands between you and the object of your liking, and reap pleasure or pain. Through Dvesha one may dislike anything, a man or a woman, a cat or a dog, a stick or a clothing, a house or a town, a view or a religion, and involve himself in one after the other progeny of ignorance, and reap sorrow. So long as this current of Raga-dvesha persists in an individual, his mind will remain agitated, restless, peaceless.
Sivananda says, - The waves of Raga-dvesha are ever disturbing the mind. One wave of Raga-dvesha arises in the mind and subsides after some time. Again another wave rises and so on. There is no balance of mind; there is no possibility of control of mind. Wherever there is pleasure, there is Raga, wherever there is pain there is Dvesha. Though the objects that give pain are far away from you, the memory of the objects will give you pain. It is the removal of the Dvesha currents only that will give you happiness. It is the Vritti or thought-wave that gives pain, but not the objects. Hence try to destroy the Raga-dvesha currents by developing cosmic love and Brahma-Bhavana or Isvara-Bhavana in all objects. Then the whole world will appear to you as the Lord in manifestation. The world or the worldly objects are neither good nor bad, but is your lower, instinctive mind that makes them, good or bad. Remember this point well, always. Do not find fault with the world or objects. Find fault with your own mind. Destruction of Raga-dvesha means destruction of the mind or the ignorance and the idea of the world.
Do not come under the domination of these two currents of Raga-dvesha. Crush them. Develop the opposite virtues, viz., Vairagya or dispassion and Cosmic Love. Vairagya will crush Raga; cosmic love will crush Dvesha. Kill Raga by the sword of Vairagya (non-attachment or dispassion or indifference to sensual objects) and Dvesha by developing cosmic Love. The cultivation of virtues like Maitri (friendship), Karuna (mercy), Mudita (complacency) and Upeksha (indifference) can only thin out or attenuate Raga-dvesha. The fire of devotion also can burn Raga-dvesha in toto.
Excellent matter on the nature of this problem of Raga-dvesha, and the other methods of resolving it, are given on page? of in this book.
Mind-conquest by Anvaya-vyatireka Method
Every object in the universe, every person on earth, all that we see and experience with the senses, are constituted of Names and Forms, Namarupa. Names and forms are mental creations, they are not eternally existent in their own right: they are products of Maya, of mind. What is eternally self-existent is the infinite Reality which gives itself to us as the Infinite Existence, Infinite Consciousness or Knowledge, and Infinite Delight. This alone is everywhere and is all. Every object (and the mind itself) has five aspects: Nama, Rupa, Asti, Bhati, Priya - Name, Form, Existence, Knowledge and Bliss. Names and forms, as we have noted, are illusory. They belong to Maya, the relative plane also called the non-existent Being or the non-Being. Asti, Bhati, Priya are the very nature, the very Svarupa of the infinite Brahman. They are real, Asti is Sat aspect of the Reality. Bhati is the Chid, or the Consciousness or the Knowledge aspect of the Reality, Priya is the Bliss, the Ananda aspect of the Reality. With persons and objects and with all that we see names and forms, Nama-rupas differ, but the Asti, Bhati and Priya are the same in all. They are the attributes of the Infinite Being. Asti, Bhati, Priya are Anvaya. Names and Forms are Vyatireka. - Through Anvaya-Vyatireka Yukti, Sivananda says, - you will have to eliminate, for the conquest of the mind and the realisation of the Absolute, the name and form, and realise or take out into yourself the Asti, Bhati, Priya Atman that is hidden in all objects and persons. Reject names and forms. Identify yourself with Asti, Bhati and Priya in all things, in all persons. Through constant thinking and force of meditation, the names and forms will vanish. Asti, Bhati, Priya alone will shine everywhere. Practise this always, even while you are at work.
Mind-conquest by the Neti-Neti Method
Not different in particulars, is the method of Neti-Neti doctrine for mind-conquest and Self-realisation. Sivananda describes this method as follows: - This is the method of negation. The Upanishads proclaim, this physical body is not the Brahman, this Prana is not the Brahman, this mind is not the Brahman, this Buddhi or the intellect is not the Brahman, this Anandamaya Kosha is not the Brahman. Therefore the balance left after negating or sublating these false, illusory, limiting adjuncts, which are superimposed on the Atman or Brahman, is the Suddha, Vyapaka, Sat-Chit-Ananda Brahman. You are in truth, in reality this Brahman. Realise it, and be free.
Mind-conquest by the Laya Chintana Method
Sivananda explains the Laya Chintana method of mind-conquest, thus: - Laya means involution of the effect into the cause. There are three kinds of practices. The first is, that you will have to think that the mind is merged in Buddhi, Buddhi in Avyaktam, and Avyaktam in Brahman. The second is, that you should think that the earth gets merged in water, then water in fire, fire in air, air in Akasa (ether) and Akasa in Avyaktam and Avyaktam in Brahman. The third process is. that you should think that Visva (microcosm) gets merged in Virat, (macrocosm), Taijasa in Hiranyagarbha, and Prajna is Isvara. The Kutastha becomes one with Brahman. Thus here you see that all the external elements or the attributes gradually get merged in the One common source, i.e., the Brahman. You go back to the original source, the Brahman who is the womb for all minds and Panchabhutas. Finally you rest in the Brahman alone.
Mind Conquest by the Pursuit of
Any Ideal Recognised by You as the Highest
There is this inspiring little passage on the value of the pursuit of an Ideal for mind-conquest, in Sivananda's book, Sadhana: - Abandon the eat-drink-and-be-merry policy. Look always upwards and onwards. Have an ideal before you. Live up to it at any cost. You can become as great as anyone else. Give up this inferiority complex. Give up the superiority complex also. The idea of inferiority and superiority is born of ignorance. Inferiority complex will cause worry. Superiority complex will generate pride and vanity. Put up the switch of the eternal Light in the innermost chambers of your heart. Keep the Divine Flame burning steadily. Feed it regularly. Through your whole heart and soul in spiritual practices, or practices that will lead you to the realisation of the Ideal you have framed for yourself. Waste not even a single minute. Be persistent and methodical in your practices. Marshal up all your forces properly and powerfully even as the Lieutenant-General in the army marshals up the armies on the battle field. All miseries will melt away soon. You will shine as a glorious Jivanmukta with the highest realisation. All sense of separateness, distinction, duality, difference, will vanish out of sight. You will feel that there is nothing but Brahman or God. You will feel oneness and unity everywhere. What a magnanimous vision you are blessed with! What an exalted state, what a sublime, soul-stirring and stupendous experience will be yours! You will get dumbfounded. This state is indescribable. You must experience it by direct intuitive perception.
Mind-conquest by the Method of
Mumukshutva or Strong Yearning for Liberation
Sivananda always insists on the possession of the burning desire to be spotlessly pure and to realise the Divine in this single-minded devotion to the Divine. For immediate mastery over the mind, the method of Sivananda is reflected in the condition of yearning, burning, longing in which he requires the aspirant to maintain himself. - If the clothes on your body catch fire, - You run breathlessly towards water for cooling yourself. You must feel like this from the burning of the fire of Samsara. You should feel that you are roasted in the fire of Samsara, Mumukshutva or strong yearning for liberation will dawn in you. The result is complete mastery of the mind.
Another form of this method of Mumukshutva is implicitly found formulated in this on page?: "Destroy the vicious desires through virtuous desires and destroy the virtuous desire also through one strong desire - Liberation.
Mind-conquest by the Method Dietetic Discipline
The chemical components of different articles of food, vibrate at varying rates. The intake of certain foods set up discordant vibrations in the physical body, throws the mind-stuff into a state of restlessness and disequilibrium, renders the very living of spiritual life, difficult. Mind-control is made an easy affair by strict regulation of food.
Speaking of the method of dietetic discipline for mind-control, Sivananda says at page?, - Sattvic food (milk, fruits, etc.) calms the mind; Rajasic food (meat, alcohol, etc.) excites the mind. - Avoid pungent, hot dishes. Take light, nutritious, simple vegetarian food. Avoid heavy and late night meals. (p. 1?.) - Too much salt too much chillies, too much tamarind, make you impulsive and cause anger. Hence avoid them, or take very small quantity of these articles. (p. 2?) - The subtle part of food forms the mind, is transformed into the mind. Purity of mind depends on the purity of food. (p. 155?)
Mind-conquest by the Method of Abhyasa or Constant and Protracted Practice of Concentration on a Single Object or Figure or Dot
The effort to steady the impetuous mind by any means is Abhyasa. Concentrate the mind on a black dot or any figure. The mind will run away; it is its habit. Gradually withdraw it from the objects and try to fix it at the lotus-feet of the Lord. The mind will run away one hundred times today; but after three months of practice, it would not run for more times than 96; after some more months it would be 70, and so on. Thus would you steadily progress and it will soon become one-pointed and you can fix it on the Lord and meditate for a long time Sa tu deerghakala-nairantarya-satkaraa-sevito dridhabhumih. The remedy to mind-wandering is Abhyasa - Abhyasa continuously and regularly for a long time. Ultimately you will realise your identity with the Supreme Soul. If you practise for two months and then leave it off, you won't be able to ascend to the summit. Regularity is of paramount importance. Let it be even for ten minutes, you must be regular in your practice daily. In this book, light on the method of Abhyasa is thrown at pages 9, 12, 56 (?).
Mind-conquest by the Method of Dosha Drishti, or the Constant Perception of the Limitations of Life
The mind is filled with sensual Samskaras. It is very difficult to wean the mind from the objects. Through Dosha Drishti or the finding out of the defects in sensual life, you can develop dispassion and control the mind. The method is: remember the description of the world given by the Lord in the Gita, Anityam Asukham Imam Lokam, Asasvatam Duhkhalayam - this world is impermanent, full of sufferings, the abode of sorrow. All the sensual pleasures appear to be pleasant in the beginning, but in the end they are like poison.
Remember the Vairagya Dindima of Sri Sankaracharya: 'Kamah krodhascha lobhascha dehe tishthanti taskarah, jnanaratnapahraya tasmat jagrata jagrata.' These are the thieves lurking in the mind; the jewel of wisdom is plundered by these dacoits. Therefore wake up, O man of this Samsara. 'Mata nasti pita nasti nasti bandhuh sahodarah, artham nasti griham nasti tasmat jagarata jagrata.' Wake up; life is waning; you are caught up in this wheel of Samsara. You are roasted by various kinds of anxieties and expectations. You don't realise, but this life is gradually waning away. Constantly dwell on these thoughts; you will gradually control the mind. Read Vairagya Prakarana of the Yoga Vasishtha. Thus runs a portion of the sermon Sivananda delivered in 1954. It relates to the method of Dosha Drishti for the conquest of Mind. This piece of instruction has to be related to the one on page 34? of this book, which reads thus: - The physical body has no beauty of its own; the beauty is attributable to the light that emanates from Atman. The nasty body with oozing discharges from nine gutters composed of the five elements is a Jada Vastu and Apavitra. Always entertain this idea. Have a clear-cut, well-defined, image or picture like this. You will conquer passion and mind, by such a mental drill.
Mind-conquest by the Cultivation Even Under the Worst of Provocations, Insults and Injuries, a Composure Comparable to Inanimate Nature
For an effective control of mind, Sivananda has evolved a simple Sadhana in chapter 79. The method consists in the cultivation even under great provocations, insults, injuries, a composure comparable to inanimate Nature. - Become a block of stone, he says. What does he mean by this is that we should refuse yielding a reaction to the worst of experiences.
Mind-conquest by the Uses of Adversity and the Rewards of Suffering
The human mind refuses to surrender its inveterate habits and gross limitations, unless battered by circumstances and brought into the disciplines of suffering. Comfort and coziness settle the mind in lazy complacency. Stress and strain stir its powers; suffering and sorrow render it sensitive to the higher realities that never fail it. Pain and privation purify the heart, develop will-power and discipline the entire nature; they aid the mind examine itself, take an inventory of its resources, and establish a mastery over its own weaknesses.
Easy life engenders faith in fictions. Nothing can disenchant and disillusion the human mind, of the fictions and pleasures that perpetuate the forces of ignorance, than severe knocks and blows of existence. Not for nothing the great in religious history have prayed for suffering. The Stoics sought it to prove by their lives the greatness of their Idea; the devotees resort to it to aid them pursue with single-minded devotion the Goal of their Love. The Vedantins ask for it to illustrate the truth that they are the body-less, mind-less, self-contained, all-sufficient Reality. The true religious individuals fast and observe vigil. The monks robe themselves in poverty and live by alms.
With a view to throw more light on the value of pain and suffering for the control of mind, Sivananda says, - It is the chill penury that turns the mind of man towards God. Knocks and blows of severe type wean the mind of man from sensual objects and turn it towards the path of spirituality.
Always presenting themselves in disguise, pain and suffering are blessings. They are the best teachers that impart the most valuable lessons; they purify man, heighten the powers of endurance and patience, transform his nature, alter his angle of vision. Sivananda says that pain and poverty, evil and misery, censure and blows teach more than wealth and pleasure, praise and honour; they produce immediately the power of discrimination and the spirit of renunciation, Viveka and Vairagya; they lit up the spiritual fire in the heart of man; and make the most difficult of conquests, the conquest of mind an easy affair.
On page 92 of this work, Sivananda says: - Negate your ego; deny your separateness; efface yourself; suffer pains and sacrifice pleasures. Deny the wants of thyself; it asks for many a cup of poison. It is a moth that falls into the fire thinking it is pleasant. It is a child that walks into the well. Humble thyself, annihilate thyself, if you wish to Live.
And, on the value of self-punishment for mind-conquest Sivananda has this passage on page 188: - Discipline the mind, tell the mind: 'O Mind, Be steady. Be fixed on one idea. Absolute is the Only Reality'. If it wanders, if it wavers, go to a lonely place, give two or three sharp slaps on your face. Then the mind will become steady. Self-punishment helps a lot in checking the wandering mind. Frighten the mind as if you will beat it with a whip or rod, whenever it wanders from the Lakshya, whenever it entertains evil thoughts.
Mind-conquest by Control of Speech
Thought and word are intimately bound up with each other; mind and speech are inextricably related to one another. The culture of the one results in the culture of the other; the control of the one is the control of the other. Sivananda prescribes Mouna Sadhana, or the observance of suspension of speaking, the control of speech, the preserving of silence, for a few hours every day, and for a longer time on special days. This discipline helps one use measured, effective words during speaking, it conserves the energy that is wasted in idle talking and worldly gossiping; it helps one think much, and accomplish much, attain peace of mind.
Sivananda says, - The organ of speech brings great distraction of mind. Control of speech really means control of mind. When the speech is measured, sweet, and full of wisdom, it makes for serenity, peace, happiness of mind. The discipline of speech, is one of the main methods of controlling the restlessness, the distractions, the oscillations of mind. Speech-control is mind-control. Any clam reflection on the results of real observance of Mouna reveals that control of speech conserves energy, controls emotions, develops will-power, checks irritability, exercises a soothing influence on the brain and the nerves, favours introspection and self-analysis. Rightly then does Sivananda say, - If you control this Vak-Indriya, you have already controlled half the mind. Vang-Mouna is only a help to the attainment of Maha Mouna wherein the mind rests in Sat-Chit-Ananda Brahman and all thoughts are completely annihilated.
Mind-conquest by Kabir's Method of - Detach-Attach
Somebody asked, Sivananda writes, - Kabir, 'O Sant Kabir! What are you doing?' Kabir replied, 'I am detaching and then attaching, as is done in the railway junction. Bogies are detached from one train on one line and then attached to the other train on the other line, Even so, I detach the mind from sensual objects and attach to the Atman or Brahman, the all-pervading Satchidananda Paramatman.' Follow Kabir's method. Detach and attach. This same process is mentioned by Lord Krishna, 'As often as the wavering and unsteady mind goeth, so often reining it, let him bring it under the control of the Self'.
Mind-conquest by Sivananda's Method of - Remember-Forget
The guidance on this method of - remember-forget Sivananda gives thus: - Why have you forgotten your essential nature, Brahman, the Satchidananda Paramatman? Because, you are remembering always your body, wife, children, world, objects, etc. Now make an attempt to forget the body, wife, children, to forget the surroundings, to forget the past, to forget what you have learnt. Then you will remember only Atman, Brahman. Forgetting is an important Sadhana for mind-conquest.
Mind-conquest by Psychological Self-examination
Cast X-ray eyes upon your own inferior nature. Introspect and scrutinise your motives. Examine the factors that cause your outer behaviour, from the states and conditions of your mind, Sivananda admonishes.
This guidance is given as a measure in the control of mind, because no man can easily acquit himself of the terrific havoc wrought in himself by the hidden animal impulses and common human emotions. Very strong cross-currents of likes and dislikes, love and hatred sway his mind. Secret longings and veiled desires destroy his happiness and ruin his peace and wisdom. Passionate impulses lurk somewhere in the crannies of his nature; ungratified wishes lie in wait for a gross manifestation and render his senses ungovernable, his circumstances unmanageable, his wisdom feeble. Understand this inner psychological nature, thoroughly. Survey, it. Examine it. Scrutinise it. This examination is almost half the cure.
After a thorough grasp of the inner inferior nature that renders the mind so wild and unruly, fraught with the potentialities for errors and misery, sit not idly nor resign your will to fate. Start vigorous Sadhana right now. Throw out completely the whole of this inner dross. Bring about a radiant transformation of the entire inner nature. Sivananda says, - A fanciful interest in the spiritual path is of no use. Take recourse to dynamic and many-sided Sadhana. Sivananda says, - Relentless effort to live a spiritual life is very necessary. The angle of vision has to be changed. Regular Sadhana will keep the mind always clean and conquered.
Mind-conquest by the Practice of Meditation
Your mind swings like a pendulum between a tear and a cheer, between fleeting pleasure and pain. Regular and constant meditation can stop this swinging of the mind, and bestow on you unalloyed felicity. Therefore, meditate. When you try to fix to the mind, only then does it become restless, and the thoughts which you never dreamt of before enter the mind. Your enemy becomes more violent only when you begin to attack him. Even so, are the thoughts. Gradually they will lose their vigour and die. Persist in your practice of meditation. Be regular in your meditation. You will attain success.
Let us relate the above matter on meditation to the one on page 138, - As gold purified in crucible, shines bright, so constant meditation on Atman makes the mind pure and effulgent with spiritual lustre. A purified mind can grasp anything. It can dive deep in the subtlest subject, and understand even transcendental things. - Meditation is an effort in the beginning. Later on it becomes habitual and gives bliss, joy and peace. Only when you have practised preliminary stages of Sadhana such as Yama, Niyama, you will obtain the full benefit of meditation. Meditation is the key to spiritual illumination, to unfold the divinity or Atman hidden in all names and forms. And on page 144 we have this piece of advice: - By constant meditation on the Self, one attains liberation. Meditate. Root yourself in Divinity. In meditation, shut down the conscious mind, that part of your mind which thinks of the external world, your body and its wants. Meditation on Brahman is the highest form of religion. You can realise Brahman when you have stillness or serenity of mind. The meditative mood comes and goes. Restrain the senses. Be eternally vigilant. Meditate regularly in the early hours of the morning.